Monday, January 31, 2011

Scandinavian crime writing goes to school

From co-editor Paula Arvas at the University of Helsinki comes news of Scandinavian Crime Fiction, a collection of articles that calls itself the first English-language study of the subject. The book has apparently been in the works awhile and is about to see the light of the day (th0ugh I'm not sure how much light there is in the Nordic lands this time of year.)

According to the cover blurb,

"This collection of articles studies the development of crime fiction in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden since the 1960s ... Scandinavian Crime Fiction identifies distinct features and changes in the Scandinavian crime tradition through analysis of some of its most well-known writers: Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, Anne Holt, Liza Marklund, Leena Lehtolainen and Arnaldur Indriðason, among others. Focusing on Scandinavian crime fiction's snowballing prominence since the 1990s, articles concentrate on the transformation of the genre's social criticism, study of significance of cultural and geographical place in the tradition and analyse the cultural politics of crime fiction, including struggles over gender equity, sexuality, ethnicity, history and the fate of the welfare state."

I've written about geography in Arnaldur's novels, and I've been reading those pioneers in the genre's social criticism, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, so I'll look forward to this one. You should, too.

(The book appears to be the third in the University of Wales Press' European Crime Fictions series. Earlier volumes featured French and Italian crime fiction.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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9 Comments:

Blogger Mediations said...

Sounds great, Peter, but did you click through to the price of the Italian and French collections? Even for an academic hardback £75 ($120) is challenging!

January 31, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

I suppose it was only a question of time before non-fiction got on the bandwagon of a bestselling phenomenon.

January 31, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

M., I did notice the prices. I suspect many readers will look for these books at their libraries rather buy them.

A paperback edition of the Scandinaviam book is available for $35 from Amazon UK and probably for similar prices from other retailers.

January 31, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And a university press no less, I.J. In defense of the book, I will say that the series has been around for a couple of years and this predates at least some of the hype.

You'll note that one of the editors of this volume is a Finnish academic, as is the author of another book in the series, to judge by the name. Nordic authors and academics might have a special interest in exploring the subject (and, sure, making a few kronor off it although at those prices, I'm not sure the books will sell in Rowling-like numbers).

January 31, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Series? You mean some of the articles are older than others? But note that now the time is ripe to gather them, plus probably solicit some others.

No, I wouldn't guess a lot of avarage readers will spring for that much money. And I much prefer reading the books themselves.

January 31, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No, I mean the book is part of a series that includes books on Italian and French crime writing and a title that appears to be about "the body" in current crime writing. This book is not entirely a quickie one-off taking advantage of Stieg Larsson's popularity.

I, too, would prefer reading the books themselves. You also leave unspoken the possibility that the articles could be written in dense academic prose that would be ironic considering the popular nature of the subject. But I have read some academic articles on crime fiction that managed to say something worthwhile despite occasional laborious explanation of the obvious.

January 31, 2011  
Blogger Mediations said...

The paperback edition is now on Amazon UK for £23.24 (http://amzn.to/gcqZgg) which is pretty much what I would expect for a collection of academic essays.

February 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I suppose that hardback edition is intended for libraries and priced accordingly.

February 01, 2011  
Anonymous dac said...

I'd like to know why - with all the praise I read in English on the internet for Leena Lehtolainen's mystery fiction - she hasn't so far been translated into English?

I'm intrigued by reviews I've read.

December 06, 2011  

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